CAPE ELIZABETH — Meredith Nadeau, a school official in Durham, N.H., has been picked as the next superintendent for Cape Elizabeth schools.

The selection was confirmed unanimously this morning at a special meeting of the School Board.

“From the beginning of our search process, the Cape Elizabeth community has voiced a desire for a leader who steers all students toward a life-long curiosity and love of learning, a person with energy and passion for continuous improvement,” board chair Mary Townsend said in a press release this morning. “We believe that Meredith Nadeau exceeds these expectations.”

Nadeau replaces Alan Hawkins, who retired in December after serving as superintendent for five years. Ken Murphy, a retired superintendent for Yarmouth schools, has been Cape Elizabeth’s interim superintendent since Hawkins left.

Since 2008, Nadeau has served as the director of instruction, special education, data Assessment, curriculum and professional development in the Oyster River Cooperative School District in Durham. She has 18 years experience, including serving as a principal, assistant principal and a special education and language arts teacher. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Bowdoin College and a master’s degree in education from the University of New Hampshire. Nadeau is a doctoral candidate at Boston University.

Nadeau will move to Maine with her husband and two children.

“Cape Elizabeth is clearly a dynamic community with a strong value for education,” she said in the press release issued by Townsend. “I look forward to meeting and working with district staff, parents, and community members during the coming months and years to sustain and build upon the excellence that already exists in the school system.”

The town’s search for a superintendent included two rounds of applications, with a total of 33 candidates applying from 18 states.